The influence of depression and other co-occurring conditions on treatment outcomes for problem gamblers: a cohort study

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    Abstract

    Objective: To examine the influence of co-occurring conditions on gambling treatment outcomes. Design, setting and participants: Prospective cohort study of problem gamblers. Participants were recruited from consecutive referrals to a gambling therapy service in 2008. Inclusion criteria were: (i) assessed as a problem gambler based on a screening interview including DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling, and (ii) suitable for admission to a treatment program. Cognitive-behavioural therapy was based on graded exposure-to-gambling urge. One-to-one treatment was conducted with 1-hour sessions weekly for up to 12 weeks. Main outcome measures: Problem gambling screening and co-occurring conditions including depression, anxiety and alcohol use. Results: Of 127 problem gamblers, 69 were males (54%), mean age was 43.09 years, and 65 (51%) reported a duration of problem gambling greater than 5 years. Median time for participants' enrolment in the study was 8.9 months. Results from mixed effects logistic regression analysis indicated that individuals with higher depression levels had a greater likelihood (13% increase in odds [95% CI, 1%-25%]) of problem gambling during treatment and at follow-up. Conclusion: Addressing depression may be associated with improved treatment outcomes in problem gambling; conversely, treatment of problem gambling improves affective instability. We therefore recommend a dual approach that treats both depression and problem gambling.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S56-S59
    Number of pages4
    JournalMJA Medical Journal of Australia
    Volume195
    Issue number3 SUPPL.
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011

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